It’s Vienna – my town of residence – where people are likely to be described as unfriendly, pessimistic and annoying. Since January there are more than 1,741.246 people of the before mentioned kind, living and defining the second-largest German-speaking city. Although the Hamburg census is from 2012, Vienna in 2013 counted nearly 7000 people more than the hanseatic metropolis. The complete article published at derStandard.at may be read here.
It’s obvious that cynic inhabitant’s criticize that Vienna is not German-speaking anymore. Of course, like most European cities Vienna is growing because of migration, rather than a babyboom. Klemens Himpele, head of department for statistics, estimates more than 2 Mio. inhabitants in 2033. According to this, Vienna turned out to be one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. But Vienna is more than just fast growing. In 2011 the newspaper “Die Welt” reported on a study by the consultant company “Mercer”, which voted for Vienna as the most livable and desirable city in the world. Himpele warned: it’s not all about getting more and more awards.
After several years I’ve spent in the Austrian capital, this weeks announcement to me became a reason for arguing within five points why it is worth moving and settle in this city.
- Although by myself I prefer riding thorough the city on my bike, Wiener Linien, the local public transport company, provides a pricey alternative in transport for those who do not want to use the bike, but neither want to drive the own motorized vehicle. In a continuously growing city, alternative models of transportation are a basic institution. The Viennese public transport network is very close-meshed and combines subway, electric and conventional bus, local trains and tramway. Eve though some politicians and parties argue that prices for public transport arose to much in the past ten years, in a European comparison it needs to be admitted that they are still quite affordable.
- Every person moving to a city needs to find it’s own space for living and residency. Until today Vienna is the city earning lots of it’s own buildings. Housing programs in Vienna are still booming and by the years the city itself became an impressive holder of real estates. Some of the most discussed recent housing projects realized by public private partnerships are MonteLaa and Aspern+.This is why in comparison to other German-speaking cities such as Munich, Frankfurt or Hamburg remained quite affordable, even tough prices are rising fast in several districts which are considered to be young and hip.
- Although I’m nearly 26, I still consider myself a young person. For young people Vienna holds a bunch of opportunities and chances. The former chronically self-consideration of the city of Vienna as a real-life museum decreases constantly. Of course much of the efforts regarding culture and art subventions still concentrate on well established institutions, but there’s a growing alternative scene beyond those structures. We may not compare Vienna to Berlin – but people do not even want to make this comparison; they’re self-confident enough to just think of their home. Several bloggers report from those experiences on a daily or weekly basis, but there’s a very personal and individual one I’d like to consider you: Dielyra.
- You shouldn’t come to Vienna if you’re looking for a lake. Zurich and Hamburg, the former most livable and the former second largest German-speaking city are home to this very nice feature you can’t find in Vienna. But there’s the Danube. A recreation park attracting different groups of age. Bankers (I guess), migrants, workers and students enjoy together the pleasures of this huge areas which include the Danube island, as well as the river sides and the inner city channel. It is the maximum use of the river, which gives the charm to the city in winter and summer times. Of course the Danube is not the only place for spare time, but it’s one of the most considered one and still offers place to many new inhabitants.
- Another reason for migration are the individual job and study opportunities. As everyone of you can Google, there are many institutions which offer diverse courses and studies with international reputation. It is welcomed feature for many students, that you won’t have to pay tuition fees at public institutions. For those of you who are mad for paying tuition fees: You can still apply for studying at so called ‚Fachhochschulen‘. Regarding job opportunities it depends on the background you have. As an international student you’d find several interesting institutions such as embassies, the United Nations, OPEC, Greenpeace and more. As also the private sector has not been hit to hard by the economic crisis, you’d find also jobs with little qualifications – but of course this are individual experiences made by someone who knows the language of this German-speaking metropolis.
Certainly Vienna and it’s initiatives are more and more influenced by neoliberal strategies. The restyling of the railway station and more bring up those changes very well. But in a European comparison we still can’t talk about a Revanchist City, qualified by several social and cultural programs and the missing of overflowing exclusive mechanisms.
However, I’d consider you trying it out: Vienna it’s worth.